Category Archives: Collapse

The Price of Empire, by Umair Haque

The price of empire is a nation’s soul. From Umair Haque at eand.co:

It’s a striking fact of today’s world that the two rich societies in shocking, swift, sharp decline are America and Britain. Nowhere else in the world, for example, are real income, life expectancy, happiness, and trust all plummeting, apart from maybe Venezuela (No, “but at least we’re not Venezuela!” is not the bar to aim for, my friends.) Their downfall is, of course, a self-inflicted catastrophe. But the interesting question is: why? And what does it tell us about what it takes to prosper and thrive in the 21st century, which is something that America and Britain clearly aren’t doing, and maybe aren’t capable of doing?

Here’s an equally curious observation. America and Britain aren’t just any countries. They are the former hegemons of the world’s most powerful empires. Britain, until the first half of the 20th century, and America, picking up where Britain left off. Is this just a strange cosmic coincidence — that it is the two greatest empires of the most recent past who are the ones seemingly most incapable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century? There aren’t coincidences that great, my friends. Such tides of history always whisper lessons to be learned. What is this one trying to urgently teach us?

That there is a price to empire. A grave and ruinous one. And that price has grown over the centuries — so high that now, it is not worth paying anymore.Let me explain what I mean — because it is not just about spending too much money and grasping too high. Not at all. It is about the kind of a place and people such a country ends up limited to being — and perhaps can then never really easily outgrow.

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How Gun Control Became an Instrument of Tyranny in Venezuela, by José Niño

Could the Venezuelan government get away with the garbage it’s gotten with if the citizenry was well-armed? Probably not. From José Niño at mises.org:

Is Venezuela paying the price for adopting gun control?

The shocking nature of Venezuela’s economic collapse has been covered ad nauseam. However, one aspect of the Venezuelan crisis that does not receive much coverage is the country’s gun control regime.

Fox News recently published an excellent article highlighting Venezuelan citizens’ regret over the gun control policies the Venezuelan government has implemented since 2012. Naturally, this regret is warranted. The Venezuelan government is among the most tyrannical in the world, with a proven track record of violating basic civil liberties such as free speech, debasing its national currency, confiscating private property, and creating economic controls that destroy the country’s productivity.

Elections have proven to be useless, as they’ve been mired with corruption and charges of government tampering. For many, taking up arms is the only option left for the country to shake off its tyrannical government. However, the Venezuelan government has done well to prevent an uprising by passing draconian gun control which will be detailed below.

Venezuela’s Lack of a Second Amendment Tradition

Historically speaking, Venezuela has never had a robust history of private gun ownership like that of the United States. The absence of a Second Amendment or check on the federal government’s monopoly on firearm usage is a vestige of its colonial legacy. Its Spanish colonial overlords did not possess a political culture of civilian firearms ownership. It was mostly the military and the landed nobility that held firearms throughout the colonial era. This tradition has persisted even after Latin American countries broke away from Spain in the 1820s.

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State Secrets and the National-Security State, by Jacob G. Hornberger

National-security states, also called authoritarian or, if sufficiently repressive, totalitarian states, always have to make it a criminal offense to reveal their secrets and ruthlessly persecute those who violate those laws. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

Inadvertently released federal documents reveal that U.S. officials have apparently secured a secret indictment against Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks who released secret information about the internal workings of the U.S. national-security establishment. In any nation whose government is founded on the concept of a national-security state, that is a cardinal sin, one akin to treason and meriting severe punishment.

Mind you, Assange isn’t being charged with lying or releasing false or fraudulent information about the U.S. national-security state. Everyone concedes that the WikiLeaks information was authentic. His “crime” was in disclosing to people the wrongdoing of the national-security establishment. No one is supposed to do that, even if the information is true and correct.

It’s the same with Edward Snowden, the American contractor with the CIA and the NSA who is now relegated to living in Russia. If Snowden returns home, he faces federal criminal prosecution, conviction, and incarceration for disclosing secrets of the U.S. national-security establishment. Again, his “crime” is disclosing the truth about the internal workings of the national-security establishment, not disseminating false information.

Such secrecy and the severe punishment for people who disclose the secrets to the public were among the things that came with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state.

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As Germany and France Come Apart, So Too Will the EU, by Charles Hugh Smith

The rulers are talking consolidaton and ever-larger governments, but the people are headed the opposite direction. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

When is a nation-state no longer a functional state? It’s an interesting question to ask of the European nation-states trapped in the devolving European Union. Longtime correspondent Mark G. recently posed seven indicators of dissolving national sovereignty; here’s his commentary:

“RE: The Ghosts of 1968 (February 14, 2018):

In France the “Ghosts of 1968” have become the Poltergeists of 2018. This looks like another real watershed in European and world history. Once again Parisian mobs have appeared and have collectively realized they now hold the real power. And their issues are all anti-EU (European Union) and anti-NWO. (New World Order)

I’m honing my German Collapse Scenario as more data flows in, as it is in ever-faster and larger quantities. ‘Germany’ will implode in parallel with the EU.

So-called ‘states’ with:

1. no effective military forces
2. no control of their own borders
3. no control of their currency and banks
4. a government with a ‘diverse’ population in which the majority either has no loyalty to Berlin (recent ‘refugee’ immigrants) or has dropped its loyalty (large parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wurttemberg), and which is also losing the allegiance of the many eastern European immigrants in Germany. These people are among the most energized opponents of the ‘refugee’ influx.
5. Fast rising anarchy and lawlessness by the recent ‘refugee’ immigrants, and which is well known to the population, as are the official orders to the police to minimize crime statistics reporting by not opening official cases.

and

6. A mass media believed by no one due to the bald lies it broadcasts 24/7 daily about numbers 1-5.

…will soon cease to exist. This is confirmed by:

7. The continuing spiral of the ruling post WWII political parties into their own political black holes. CDU/CSU on the right and SDP on the left have all lost their hold on the modern German population.

The biggest joke of all is that Theresa May is negotiating the terms of “Brexit” from the EU with a political corpse and not a viable polity.

Another round or lap is coming soon. Personally I think the only thing staving off another eurozone banking crisis is the absolute certainty that no imaginable German government can currently agree to the slightest external concession without risking an internal political collapse.

Thus all the various Eurozone elites involved are refraining from provoking such a crisis for calculated narrow reasons. This leaves it to a European mob in some capital to initiate it by confronting a national government with either internal political collapse or re-entering EU-wide monetary and fiscal conflict with the ECB/EU gang.

And yes, I’m sure you spotted the next part. Poland and Hungary acting on behalf of the Phoenix Rising Ersatz Austro-Hungarian Empire will twist the EU’s tail at that time as hard as they can for maximum regional advantage.”

The fracturing of Germany is conventionally viewed as somewhere between implausible and impossible, and the same can be said of France and Germany drifting apart and the EU dissolving: the mainstream is committed to presenting Germany, the German-French alliance, the euro and the EU as rock-solid.

Yet if we follow the logic and evidence presented in these seven points, we are forced to conclude that the fractures in France, Germany and the EU are widening by the day, and that the ceaseless propaganda spewed by the ruling elites isn’t mending the fractures or restoring the illusion of stability.

(Regarding the French yellow vest dissenters: the 80,000 mobilized security forces are intentionally seeking to incite violence to justify crushing the yellow vestdissenters with massive paramilitary force: French Democracy Dead or Alive?)

In the long run of history, the apparent solidity of 20 or 30 years can shatter very rapidly as populations under increasing financial and political stress default to much more enduring divisions and loyalties.

Europe is Burning, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Europe’s elite is finding it discomfiting that much of the peasantry can’t see the self-evident righteousness of their views and policies. From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

There will be elections for the European Parliament on May 23-26 2019. They will likely change the face of Europe more than anything has done since the EU was founded. That is not some wild prediction. Many European countries have held elections since the last European elections in 2014, and just about all had outcomes that shook up domestic political ratios.

In most cases, countries went from traditional parties to newly founded ones. France erased the Socialists and center-right in 2017, and the final round of the presidential elections was between Marine Le Pen’s Front National and Emmanuel Macron’s brand-new En Marche. Macron won sort of by default, because France as a country would never have voted for Le Pen.

In Italy, M5S and Lega have taken over. In Germany, Merkel’s CDU/CSU coalition lost bigly though it remained the biggest party, but Angela lost her ‘socialist’ SPD partner which gave up so much it didn’t want to be in government anymore. In Spain, Mariano Rajoy’s center right lost enough to cede power to the Socialists who came up tops because they played a smart game, not because the Spanish wanted it to rule.

We don’t have to go through all 27/28 different countries to establish that there are almost tectonic shifts happening all over, away from traditional parties and towards whoever showed up without insanely extreme views. And if you think this move is now completed, you may want to think again.

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The Yellow Vests Get it Right, by Robert Gore

Financial nuclear warheads.

The mainstream media has degenerated irreparably. Here’s a reliable rule of thumb: if it’s important it’s not covered; if it’s covered it’s not important. Stories in the American mainstream press about Yellow Vest protests have been few. One aspect of the protests, transcendently important, has received scant coverage.

The Yellow Vest protestors have called for a coordinated run on French banks. Whether they realize it or not, they’re playing with nuclear warheads that could annihilate not just the French, but Europe’s and the entire world’s financial system. Because inextricably linked to the ends of contemporary governments―how much they can screw up the lives of those who must live under them—is the question of means―how do they fund their misrule? The short answer is taxes and debt.

Since 1971, when President Nixon 
“temporarily” suspended international convertibility of dollars for gold (it’s never been reinstated), the monetary basis of the global economy has been fiat debt. Neither government or central bank debt nor currencies are tethered to any real constraint, like precious metals (see “Real Money,” SLL). Thus, politicians and monetary officials can create as much debt as they want: debt by fiat.

Government and central bank debt is at the apex of the global debt pyramid. The next tier is commercial banks that have accounts at central banks. Those accounts are bank assets and central bank liabilities, or debts. Central banks expand their fiat liabilities to banks in exchange for banks’ fiat government debt, an exchange called debt monetization, which is a bit of a misnomer since no “Real Money” is involved. The “monetization” is the central bank’s fiat expansion of banks’ accounts with the central bank in exchange for fiat government debt, which expands banks’ assets available for loans to governments, businesses, and individuals.

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Placing the USA on a collapse continuum with Dmitry Orlov, by the Saker

Collapse, like Ernest Hemingway once said about bankruptcy, happens slowly at first, then quickly. From the Saker and Dmitry Orlov at thesaker.is:

The word ‘catastrophe‘ has several meanings, but in its original meaning in Greek the word means a “sudden downturn” (in Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn,’ from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’).  As for the word “superpower” it also has several possible definitions, but my preferred one is this oneSuperpower is a term used to describe a state with a dominant position, which is characterized by its extensive ability to exert influence or project power on a global scale. This is done through the combined-means of economic, military, technological and cultural strength, as well as diplomatic and soft power influence. Traditionally, superpowers are preeminent among the great powers” this one, “an extremely powerful nation, especially one capable of influencing international events and the acts and policies of less powerful nations” or this onean international governing body able to enforce its will upon the most powerful states“.

I have mentioned the very visible decline of the USA and its associated Empire in many of my articles already, so I won’t repeat it here other than to say that the “ability to exert influence and impose its will” is probably the best criteria to measure the magnitude of the fall of the USA since Trump came to power (the process was already started by Dubya and Obama, but it sure accelerated with The Donald).  But I do want to use a metaphor to revisit the concept of catastrophe.

If you place an object in the middle of a table and then push it right to the edge, you will exert some amount of energy we can call “E1”.  Then, if the edge of the table is smooth and you just push the object over the edge, you exercise a much smaller amount of energy we can call “E2”.  And, in most cases (if the table is big enough), you will also find that E1 is much bigger than E2 yet E2, coming after E1 took place, triggered a much more dramatic event: instead of smoothly gliding over the table top, the object suddenly falls down and shatters.  That sudden fall can also be called a “catastrophe”.  This is also something which happens in history, take the example of the Soviet Union.

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